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Cautious Labor looking at tax cut plans

Labor isn’t “wild” about proposed tax cuts in 2024 but will look at how they affect people before deciding whether to back them, although it still wants them split from the government’s broader plan.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Labor has plenty of time to go through details of the government’s seven-year tax plan.

“You don’t make these decisions based on a quick look on figures that we finally dragged out from Scott Morrison,” Mr Bowen told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

“You take your time to look at them carefully. We want to have a look at the distributional data.”

Legislation to introduce a new low- and middle-income tax offset, which will provide $530 relief each year and lift the 32.5 per cent tax bracket from $87,000 to $90,000, passed the lower house on Wednesday night.

But Labor refused to support the rest of the tax plan, which has more cuts in 2022 and 2024, until it saw more detail.

Treasurer Scott Morrison released that detail on Wednesday night, revealing parts one and two – which include the July 1 changes and part of the later cuts – will cost $102 billion over the medium term.

The final stage will cost around $40 billion, bringing the total to $143 billion over 10 years.

“We’re not wild about that third stage of the tax cuts plan (in 2024), so we’ll do our best to separate the tax relief for working people,” Labor’s finance spokesman Jim Chalmers told Sky News.

“We’ll try to pass our fairer alternative, if we’re unsuccessful we’ll then have another conversation about it.”

Meanwhile the government’s corporate tax cut plans are also before the Senate, with Pauline Hanson refusing to back them until she talks to her One Nation colleagues.

“(The government has) got to prove to me and the people of Australia that we can start paying down debt,” Senator Hanson told reporters on Thursday.

Liberal backbencher Tim Wilson denied reports the coalition was considering splitting the election of both houses of parliament as a potential fix to the Senate’s crossbench impasse.

“There’s always people in politics who want to suggest ideas about how they think they can brilliantly solve the electoral challenges of any political party or any government,” he said.

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